Prof. Dr. Michel Kenzelmann

Titular Professor of Physics

Head of Laboratory for
Scientific Developments and Novel Materials
Paul Scherrer Institut
5232 Villigen, Switzerland

T +41 (0) 56 310 53 81
F +41 (0) 56 310 29 39
E-mail: michel.kenzelmann(at)


Short biography

Michel Kenzelmann received a D.Phil. from Oxford University in 2001, working on topological quantum magnetism under the guidance of Prof. Roger Cowley. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University and NIST (USA) from 2001 and 2004 where he studied studying quantum magnetism and magnetically-indued ferroelectricity under the guidance of Prof. Broholm. From 2004 to 2008, he held a professor fellowship of the Swiss National Science Foundation at ETH Zürich. In 2008 he was appointed head of the Laboratory for Scientific Developments and Novel Materials at the Paul Scherrer Institut. In 2014 he became a titular professor at the University of Basel.


Research summary

His research interests focus on materials with strong magnetic fluctuations, such as low-dimensional and frustrated magnets, multiferroics, and unconventional heavy-fermion superconductors. The common thread among these materials is that strong electronic fluctuations lead to qualitatively novel phases. A conceptually simple example includes magnetically-induced ferroelectrics where competing magnetic interactions lead to complex magnetic structure that are incompatible with the underlying chemical structure, generating a ferroelectric distortion in the process. In insulating low-dimensional magnets, or frustrated magnetic topologies, novel phases with strongly-fluctuation magnetism can emerge that are strongly-correlated and quantum coherent over macroscopic length scales. Competing interactions in metallic materials, such as Kondo lattices, can lead to novel superconducting phases with little-understood microscopic mechanisms. Prof. Kenzelmann studies these phenomena using thermodynamic methods and large scale facilities with a focus on neutron scattering.


Selected publications

  1. M. Kenzelmann, Exotic magnetic states in Pauli-limited superconductors (invited review article), Rep. Prog. Phys. 80, 034501 (2017).
  2. M. Morin, E. Canévet, A. Raynaud, M. Bartkowiak, D. Sheptyakov, V. Ban, M. Kenzelmann, E. Pomjakushina, K. Conder and M. Medarde, Tuning magnetic spirals beyond room temperature with chemical disorder, Nat. Comm. 7, 13758 (2016).
  3. D.Y. Kim, S.-Z. Lin, F. Weickert, M. Kenzelmann, E.D. Bauer, F. Ronning, J. D. Thompson, and R. Movshovich, Intertwined Orders in Heavy-Fermion Superconductor CeCoIn5, Phys. Rev. X 6, 041059 (2016).
  4. R. Sibille, E. Lhotel, V. Pomjakushin, C. Baines, T. Fennell, and M. Kenzelmann, Candidate quantum spin liquid in the Ce3+ pyrochlore stannate Ce2Sn2O7, Phys. Rev. Lett. 115, 097202 (2015).
  5. S. Gerber, M. Bartkowiak, J.L. Gavilano, E. Ressouche, N. Egetenmeyer, C. Niedermayer, A.D. Bianchi, R. Movshovich, E.D. Bauer, J.D. Thompson and M. Kenzelmann, Switching of magnetic domains reveals evidence for spatially inhomogeneous superconductivity, Nature Physics 10, 126 (2014).
  6. T. Fennell, M. Kenzelmann, B. Roessli, H. Mutka, J. Ollivier, M. Ruminy, U. Stuhr, O. Zaharko, L. Bovo, A. Cervellino, M.K. Haas, and R.J. Cava, Magnetoelastic Excitations in the Pyrochlore Spin Liquid Tb2Ti2O7, Phys. Rev. Lett, 112, 017203 (2014).
  7. T. Fennell, M. Kenzelmann, B Roessli, and R. J. Cava, Power-law spin correlations in the pyrochlore antiferromagnet Tb2Ti2O7, Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 017201 (2012).
  8. M. Kenzelmann, Th. Strässle, C. Niedermayer, M. Sigrist, B. Padmanabhan, M. Zolliker, A. D. Bianchi, R. Movshovich, E. D. Bauer, J. L. Sarrao, and J. D. Thompson, Coupled Superconducting and Magnetic Order in CeCoIn5, Science 321, 1652 (2008).
  9. A.D. Bianchi, M. Kenzelmann, L. DeBeer-Schmitt, J.S. White, E.M. Forgan, J. Mesot, M. Zolliker, J. Kohlbrecher, R. Movshovich, E.D. Bauer, J.L. Sarrao, Z. Fisk, C. Petrovic, and M.R. Eskildsen, Superconducting Vortices in CeCoIn5 - towards the Pauli-limiting field, Science 319, 177 (2008).
  10. M. Kenzelmann, G. Lawes, A.B. Harris, G. Gasparovic, C. Broholm, A.P. Ramirez, G.A. Jorge, M. Jaime, S. Park, Q. Huang, A. Ya. Shapiro, and L.A. Demianets, Direct transition from a disordered phase to an incommensurate multiferroic on a triangular lattice, Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 267205 (2007).
  11. M. Kenzelmann, A.B. Harris, S. Jonas, C. Broholm, J. Schefer, S.B. Kim, C.L. Zhang, S.-W. Cheong, O.P. Vajk and J.W. Lynn, Magnetic inversion symmetry breaking and ferroelectricity in TbMnO3, Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 087206 (2005).
  12. G. Lawes, A.B. Harris, T. Kimura, N. Rogado, R.J. Cava, A. Aharony, O. Entin-Wohlman, T. Yildirim, M. Kenzelmann, C. Broholm, and A.P. Ramirez, Ferroelectricity through Magnetic Inversion Symmetry Breaking on a Kagome Staircase, Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 087205 (2005).
  13. M. Kenzelmann, R.A. Cowley, W.J.L. Buyers, R. Coldea, J.S. Gardner, M. Enderle, D.F. McMorrow and S.M. Bennington, Multiparticle states in the S=1 chain system CsNiCl3, Phys. Rev. Lett. 87, 017201 (2001).